Bill’s Amazing Ramsay Round

Distance of 56 miles and 28,500 feet of climbing.

Bill takes up the story …..

“As we were making our way up to Fort William, I brought the start time forward from 2am Sat morning to 8pm Friday evening to take advantage of a window in the wet weather. That was good because the weather wasn’t too bad – occasional drizzle and low cloud, but no real rain until the final couple of hours, by which time we were on the home straight so it didn’t really matter. There’s still quite a bit of snow on Ben Nevis and the Grey Corries, and some of the slopes are very slippery with all the rain and melted snow.

Just as you’d expect, my support team were fantastic – the last minute change of start time meant that everyone’s timings of when they were going to have to run changed completely, but it all went like clockwork, with Anne running the show!

Unfortunately, from fairly early on I found that I just had very little energy. My whole body was much more tired than it should have been. I don’t know why. I had been doing a lot of hard training in the previous few months, and then had 19 days of relative rest – perhaps that wasn’t long enough recovery? Or perhaps it was too much?

Anyway, I had decided that I was not going to carry on by the time I got to Fersit, a third of the way round. However unbeknown to me my support team had made a pact that the only way they were going to let me stop was if I was ill or physically unable to continue! I’m glad they did that.

Karl accompanied me on the long first section over Ben Nevis and the Grey Corries – the hardest support section of any of the 24 hour rounds, and even Karl looked shattered at the end of it. We lost about 15 minutes in the dark and cloud on the snowy slopes of Aonach Beag when I made a navigational mistake, but got back on track.
Lee supported me on the second section, and Mike and Linda on the third and final section across the Mamores.

By about halfway through, I knew I was not going to get round in 24 hours, but I wanted to complete the circuit in however long it took. As you know, I got round in 25:54, and I am absolutely delighted.”

Durisdeer, Knowl Hill, Swaziland & Switzerland!

Karon, Math, Tim at Durisdeer

Karon, Math, Tim at Durisdeer

Calder Valley’s fell runners headed north of the border last week and into Dumfriesshire to tackle the latest installment of the British Fell Running Championship. Awaiting them was the grueling Durisdeer fell race, squeezing over 4,000ft into just 9.1 miles and ensuring that calf and quad muscles were given a thorough Caledonian seeing to.

Karl Gray & Gav Mulholland at Durisdeer

Karl Gray & Gav Mulholland at Durisdeer

Over such steep terrain, the impish Gav Mulholland, perhaps Calder’s finest climber, comes into his own and can take great pride in his outstanding 6th place finish, crossing the line in tandem with the one and only Karl Gray.

Math Roberts, visibly jiggered by the whole assignment, carded a valiant 8th, and man of the moment Ben Mounsey trooped in in a 10th ensuring that yet again Calder’s ‘A’ men were right up there with the big boys. Tim Ellis continued to demonstrate his own consistency with an excellent 13th and all knew they had been in a right old scrap.

Old warhorses, Shaun Godsman and Darren Kay deserve special mention for competing under the cloud of injury, and fighting round to ensure that Calder’s V40s remained in the reckoning for overall gold. Although eye witness reports suggest that Shaun had rediscovered his mojo during the post-match celebrations.

For the ladies, Karon Forster again showcased her skill in the tougher races with a mighty impressive run in 2hrs 18 mins, with captain fantastic Helen Buchan showing that she’s well on the mend from an injury plagued season with a splendid 2:27.

On Sunday, more sedate proceedings were taking place at Norden over near Rochdale at the Knowl Hill fell race, part three of Rochdale Harrier’s popular 3 Day event comprising a road, trail and fell race. Calder Cannonball John Lloyd, running’s answer to Barry Hearne, took the spoils on the Friday by winning the road race with a trademark display, blasting out of the blocks up Edenfield Road and romping home in 35:37. A decent 4th place on Saturday’s trail race meant John was in with a shout of the overall win come Sunday’ fell installment. Rossendale’s Sam Tosh took Sunday’s crown with a blistering course record of 41:10 – an outstanding time over the demanding terrain of Knowl Hill. John came in 18th but can be pleased with his 3rd place overall over the three days.

Calder’s Andy Thorpe showed signs of a return to form in 9th, but perhaps run of the day came from Calder’s brilliant Gayle Sugden, who continues to stretch the superlatives in this stand out season she is having. Gayle was 2nd lady in 17th place and was only a couple of minutes behind renowned Holmfirth star, Katie Walshaw who was 8th. Next Calder lady was who else but Sally Newman, with yet another fine run to finish 4th lady.

In more exotic climes, Calder’s Phil Scarf and Alistair Morris’s took part in ‘Expedition Africa’ in Swaziland last week.

Phil Scarf taking the leap of faith

Phil Scarf taking the leap of faith

These two renowned map gurus were part of a team of four, ‘Endurance Life’ that came 7th, after 90 hours of non-stop trekking, kayaking, white-water rafting, mountain biking and caving. Navigating through dense bush often at night with basic maps proved challenging but the team were really pleased with their result among world class competition. The kayak section of the race had to be shortened at the last minute because of the dangers of hippos and crocodiles, something their pre-race training on the Rochdale Canal would have prepared them well for.

Also overseas, Calder’s star distance duo, Jackie Scarf and Barbara Lonsdale were competing in the  54k Scenic Trail, race close to Lugano on the Swiss/Italian border at the weekend. With dramatic scenery, high alpine pastures and refreshment stops at mountain refuges, it was a demanding race that stretched the 350 competitors who took part. Both finished well up the field, with Barbara and Jackie 16th and 18th lady respectively, in 9.14 and 9.38 hours.

33 CVFR out at Hebden Bridge Fell Race

What felt like a proper summer’s night with the obligatory midges it was a good one for fell racing and Calder Valley Fell Runners.  Newly joined and old hands alike, turned out in force to race the local Hebden Bridge race last Thursday.

Joe Crossfield & Gayle Sugden  (Photo By Tod Harriers)

Joe Crossfield & Gayle Sugden (Photo By Tod Harriers)

The 9.5km race, organised by Tod Harrier, climbs from the park and through the woods to the open fell before reaching the high point of Stoodley Pike. It then descends across Erringden Moor before the runners retrace their steps back to the park via Wood Top Road.

A fast start saw young guns Jack Denton and Martin Howard take the lead on the first climb but they were overtaken by the eventual race winner Joe Crossfield (48mins 7secs) who is coming back to form to take the win from Wharfedale’s Christian Holmes by 17 seconds.  With Denton placing 3rd and 1st under 18 and club champion Mark O’Connor sealing 8th place the team prize was well and truly secured for the Calder Valley lads.

Gayle Sugden and Jo Buckley started the race wondering how their legs would feel after having raced the tough Lakeland Duddon Valley at the weekend. They must have recovered well as Sugden took the win in a time of 55 mins 27 secs with Buckley placing 3rd  in just 6 seconds over the hour.  Lindsey Oldfield followed her team mate to take 4th and again the team prize went to the Calder Ladies.

It was a first time out for a fair few of the newly joined members who did well to finish the race in a respectable time but more importantly they had a smile on their faces.

Full results available here.

Duddon & Saddleworth Fell Race

Seathwaite, Duddon Valley, Southern Lake District, scene last Saturday of the latest round of the English Fell Running Championship.  The Duddon race is a Lakeland monster, getting on for 20 miles of hard fell running.  The route starts from the hamlet of Seathwaite and takes in Harter Fell, Hardknott, Little Stand, The Three Shires Stone, Swirl How, Dow Crag, White Pike and Caw before dropping back down to Seathwaite.  There is also some 6000ft of climbing, most of which feels like it’s been crammed into the climb up the inappropriately named Little Stand.

Ian Symington, Duddon Long Fell Race (By Amanda Seims)

Ian Symington, Duddon Long Fell Race (By Amanda Seims)

Calder Valley’s elite men’s team were aiming for the win.  Reliable Karl (Earl) Gray ran a consistent race, in contention all the way round and coming in third place behind Rob Hope (Pudsey and Bramley) and Rhys Findlay –Robinson (Dark Peak).  He was backed up by Math Roberts, Tim Ellis, Gavin Mullholland and Jason ‘Wilf’ Williams in 8th, 9th, 10th and 52nd place respectively.  Math, the Welsh Wizard, was in 10th place at the top of Caw but with a blistering second fastest descent of the day, overtook his team mates.  However, despite their best efforts, Dark Peak took the men’s prize with Calder Valley a very close second.  Four runners in the top ten – what a team!

Gayle Sudgen was Calder’s first Woman for CVFR and 11th overall.  Gayle and Jo Buckley had run together for most of the race before Gayle pulled ahead in the last four miles. With Helen Buchan, Jacki Scarf and Karon Forster the girls took 4th team on the day and 3rd lady vets team. They are still in the hunt for a team medal.

Gayle and Jo, Duddon Long Fell Race (By Amanda Seims)

Gayle and Jo, Duddon Long Fell Race (By Amanda Seims)

The race was also a counter for Calder Valley’s Club Championship so there was a good turn out from club members.  Iain Powell, Jake Ackroyd and Ben Frechette all had good runs.

Calder Valley Duddon Results:

Rob Hope (Pudsey &Bramley) 2:44:01, 3. Karl Gray 2:48:15, 8. Math Roberts 2:52:29, 9. Tim Ellis 2:52:38, 10. Gavin Mulholland 2:52:51, 52. Jason Williams 3:20:05, 61. Sharon Taylor (Helm Hill) 3:23:26 (1st Woman), 75. Ian Symington 3:27:11, 90. Bill Johnson 3:33:30, 110. Gayle Sugden 3:40:24, 116. Mark O’Connor 3:41:44, 123. Jo Buckley 3:43:59, 163. Iain Powell 4:01:39, 168. Jake Ackroyd 4:04:12, 174. Ben Frechette 4:05:35, 182. Mike Wardle 4:08:50, 185. Mark Wharton 4:11:03, 235. Helen Buchan 4:31:13, 238. Jackie Scarf 4:32:54, 262. Tim Brooks 4:47:23, 268. Karon Forster 4:57:24, 272. Dave Culpan 5:06:30, 277. Gavin Roper 5:14:17, 289. Darren Sugden 5:23:36, 295. Dan Biggs 6:08:42

Lindsey Oldfield, Saddleworth Fell Race (By Paul Taylor)

Lindsey Oldfield, Saddleworth Fell Race (By Paul Taylor)

Calder’s women’s team went one better on Sunday and took the team prize at the Saddleworth Fell Race.  In a short fast 3 miles, Sally Newman, Lindsey Oldfield and Rachael Crossland carried the red and white banner to victory. Joe Crossfield was 3rd in the men’s race and first U23.